Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

February 20, 2013

Effingham City Council again denies fire engine purchase in split vote

EFFINGHAM — For the second council meeting in a row, Effingham City commissioners have disagreed over the purchase of a heavy rescue squad from Rosenbauer Fire Apparatus, ultimately turning down the purchase in a split vote.

Mayor Merv Gillenwater and Commissioner Alan Harris voted in favor of the purchase, while commissioners Brian Milleville and Matt Hirtzel, who was absent at the last meeting, voted against the proposal. Don Althoff was not present Tuesday, but also voted it down at the last meeting.

City Administrator Jim Arndt presented to the council the potential cost of waiting to replace the department's most outdated engine.

"Based on the figures that we have, we know it's going to go up about $15,000 (next year)," he said. "Bids could potentially come in lower, but we don't foresee that."

Gillenwater stressed the need for a new fire engine by saying while structure fires are down, interstate accidents are still a large portion of emergency calls.

"Our calls for service have changed ... which makes this even more important to us," he said about the vehicle. "I'm not sure we cannot afford it. If we intend to buy at any point and we put it off, it will probably cost us more money in the future."

After the first discussion one month ago in which Hirtzel spoke out against buying the vehicle with a bond, he admitted there were valid reasons for buying now as opposed to later.

"You're making excellent points," he said Tuesday.

Still, Hirtzel contended the money isn't there for the current purchase, believing the city should wait until funds become available to pay for the engine outright even if that leaves the department with less fire engines.

"I don't see how we can do that without somehow increasing our income to pay for them," he said. "Five vehicles are fiscally very difficult to do with the current income for our budget. Maybe we can only afford to have three of them, or four."

Gillenwater disagreed, saying during Joe Holomy's time as fire chief he has worked diligently on reducing the Effingham Fire Department's fleet of vehicles, thereby saving the city money.

The mayor is confident the vehicle is needed, as is Arndt.

"He's worked hard with his budget," the city administrator said of Holomy. "I think the need's been demonstrated to the council through many documents... This could potentially impact our ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating. If we purchase it now, we're going to fill the need."

Hirtzel, however, felt the cost is too much.

"Mathematically, you will be paying this amount, and what you're saying is that it's better to pay it tomorrow than today," Hirtzel said of the bond. "Five is unsustainable. It is."

Gillenwater worried that postponing the purchase could put the city in a sticky situation similar to what the state is going through.

"I'm just afraid we're going to do like the state did and push things off to the point where all of a sudden, we have all of this," he said. "It's very unlikely that we could ever save enough to pay it off in cash."

Although the purchase was denied due to the tie vote, the mayor said, "At least the public has been able to hear why we're doing what we're doing."

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • tony- app maker 1.jpg Dieterich grad markets word game application

    Dalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIller, Jay C 021314.jpg Miller sentenced to 17 years in heroin death

     An Altamont man was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison in connection with the fatal heroin overdose of an Effingham woman earlier this year.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Here are the winning numbers selected Wednesday in the Illinois State Lottery:My 3-Midday6-2-4My 3-Evening4-7-5Pick Three-Midday4-8-0Fireball: 3Pick Three-Evening5-6-0Fireball: 4Pick Four-Midday3-5-5-1Fireball: 2Pick Four-Evening6-

    July 31, 2014

  • tony- dieterich app maker pic Dieterich grad markets word game application TONY HUFFMANDaily NewsDalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.A former standout basketball player at Dieterich High School, Hinterscher followed his intellectual pursuits into college. Entering his second year as a Software

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Complex support divides council All indications at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Effingham City Council indicates Effingham Park District will not get the $1 million it is asking for to help build the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center.In fact, Mayor Merv Gillenwater

    July 30, 2014

  • Correction It was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s Effingham Daily News that federal sex crime suspect Nathan Maphis was at large. Maphis is being held in Madison County Jail. The newspaper erred. Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.

    July 30, 2014

  • tony- community garden 2 Learning and growing together The installation of a Effingham Community Garden sign marks the growing success of a common place for Effingham residents to cultivate plants and produce.“We have 23 large plots and two small plots out here this year,” said University of Illinois Mas

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-30 kitchen fire pic Kitchen fire damages home An unattended kitchen stove led to a full-still fire call at 507 Park Hills Drive Tuesday afternoon.A passerby made a 911 call and reported visible smoke from the eaves of the home at 1:16 p.m. Arriving on scene, Effingham firefighters entered the ho

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.